SINGAPORE: Following Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s impressive win in the Singapore Presidential Election, Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, was among the first political leaders to congratulate the former senior minister of the People’s Action Party (PAP).
On 1 September, Mr Tharman secured an impressive 70.4% of the total votes in the three-cornered against
In a Facebook statement on 2 September, Mr Lee acknowledged that Mr Tharman, who held the positions of Senior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, boasts a lengthy and illustrious history of public service.
The Prime Minister pointed out that in his role as the head of state, Mr Tharman will act as the representative of Singapore both domestically and internationally.
He will also have authority over custodial powers, such as those concerning reserves and significant appointments.
“I have every confidence that he will carry out his duties as President with distinction,” Mr. Lee stated, adding that he had contacted Mr Tharman and guaranteed him full cooperation from the government.
“As head of state, the President has to be a unifying figure that all Singaporeans can look up to and identify with. He must exercise his custodial powers under the Constitution wisely, bringing to bear his experience and independent judgment,” he added.
“Internationally, representing Singapore, he must fly our flag high.”
Mr Lee expressed gratitude to all three candidates – Mr Tharman, Mr Ng and Mr Tan as well as the election officials for their diligent efforts.
He also thanked both the voters in Singapore and those residing overseas for fulfilling their civic duty.
“I am happy that Singaporeans have been able to exercise the right to vote for our next President, and to focus on what the elected President is about,” Mr. Lee said.
“In this election, both voters and candidates have shown a greater understanding of the roles and duties of the President, which bodes well for Singapore.”
He concluded by saying, “now that the election is over, let us come together again as Singaporeans, to tackle the challenges ahead and build a stronger and more united nation,” said the Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also congratulated Mr Tharman on his presidential election victory.
Mr Wong took to Facebook on Saturday to convey his sentiments, saying that the outcome is a “vote of confidence in Singapore’s future, and augurs well for the stability and unity we all want for our little red dot.”
Mr Wong expressed his anticipation for Mr Tharman’s tenure as the Head of State in the post.
“I look forward to your service as our Head of State, strengthening our solidarity as a country, bringing out the best in our people and representing our interests abroad!” He said.
Leader of the Opposition of Singapore, Pritam Singh
Leader of the Opposition of Singapore, Pritam Singh, has also extended well wishes to Mr Tharman despite their policy differences.
The Workers’ Party Secretary General shared on his Facebook post on Saturday that the Workers’ Party maintains a well-established stance on the Elected Presidency, which is outlined in their GE2020 manifesto and has been communicated to the mainstream media recently.
Mr Singh referenced the Menon Constitutional Commission’s 2016 review, which includes a section that was outside its terms of reference to highlight issues with the Elected Presidency and “suggested how a reversion to an appointed Presidency could be considered in future.”
“There are other institutions and national policies that the Workers’ Party believes should be overhauled or changed.”
“We will continue to advance these alternatives in the course of our political work, and undertaking the check and balance role in Parliament which is a key responsibility of an elected parliamentary opposition,” he said.
While they may hold differing perspectives, Mr. Singh still conveys his good wishes to Mr. Tharman and his family, recognizing the importance of his win.
He emphasized the significance of acknowledging not only President-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s triumph but also the manner in which his campaign was conducted.
Leong Mun Wai: Progress Singapore Party
Leong Mun Wai, Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party, penned a heartfelt note on Sunday, lauding the new President-elect. “The PSP offers its hearty congratulations to President-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam.”
The Non-Consituency Member of Parliament added, “We echo his sentiment of “Respect for all,” and applaud Singaporeans for their discerning vote against racial biases. It is evident that the race-based GRC system and Reserved Presidency no longer resonate with our society. Singaporeans deserve progressive leadership. For Country. For People.”
Chee Soon Juan: Singapore Democratic Party
Dr Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), extended to Mr Tharman a warm and heartfelt congratulations, “On behalf of the members of the Singapore Democratic Party, I would like to congratulate you on your victory in the recently concluded Presidential Election.”
“We hope that you will discharge your responsibilities of the Presidency faithfully, both in spirit and letter. We wish you well as you assume your office and in the years ahead.”
Ravi Philemon: Red Dot United
Ravi Philemon, Secretary General of Red Dot United, also issued a congratulatory message to Mr Tharman, noting that his “landslide triumph has truly been remarkable”.
However, he expressed a few misgivings about Mr. Tharman throwing his hat into the race for the Elected Presidency, chiefly due to his perceived abandonment of the residents in Jurong GRC who voted for him in the General Election 2020.
Mr Philemon hopes that Mr. Tharman will become a unifying figure for all Singaporeans, regardless of their differing perspectives, including those with varying political opinions.